Solar energy for the masses

26 May 2009

Mass production begins on thin-film solar panels.
Mass production begins on thin-film solar panels.

PV modules for large-scale solar farm applications reduce installation costs by 20%.

Volume production of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) modules from T-Solar began on the Applied Materials’ SunFab Thin Film Line. The solar panels, sized at 5.7 m2, are suited for large scale solar farm applications where installation costs can be reduced by about 20% over smaller scale panels.

“Our fully certified, higher-value solar panels will provide us with a significant opportunity to serve the expanding European market for large commercial buildings and solar farm applications,” said Juan Laso, general manager of T-Solar and president of the Photovoltaic Enterprise Association (AEF). “We’ve invested in what we believe is the best technology and equipment to manufacture solar panels that will allow us to continuously drive down the cost of solar energy generation.”

T-Solar is expected to annually produce 700,000 m2 of PV panels with the potential to generate up to 45 MW equivalent module production per year with the SunFab line. T-Solar plans to eventually expand the line by 40% and expects to gain further production efficiencies and reduced material costs.

“We are pleased to be able to work with T-Solar to enable their success,” said Dr. Randhir Thakur, senior vice president and general manager, SunFab Thin Film Solar and Display Business Group at Applied Materials. “Our collaborative work on this line is yet another step toward unleashing the power of thin film PV technology to dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy.”

T-Solar’s SunFab line will also receive ISO9000, ISO14000 and EMAS certification for quality management and environmental production management, and meets OSHA’s European safety and health standards. In addition, T-Solar is a member of PV Cycle, the European association committed to PV waste management and recycling.

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